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Women’s Super League 2022: Leeds Rhinos’ Australian star Courtney Winfield-Hill on her England aim

Although born in Queensland, former Woman of Steel Courtney Winfield-Hill could be making her England bow later this year; the new Betfred Women’s Super League season kicks off this Sunday

Last Updated: 12/05/22 4:13pm

Leeds’ Courtney Winfield-Hill could soon be wearing an England shirt as well

The sporting rivalry between England and Australia is one which runs deep, particularly when it comes to cricket and rugby league.

It just so happens they are the two disciplines former Women’s Big Bash League opening bowler and current Betfred Women’s Super League scrum-half Courtney Winfield-Hill has excelled in as well.

But the Queensland-born Leeds Rhinos star is all set to cross the divide after her recent call-up to the England Women’s performance squad and is excited to think she could be pulling on the white shirt instead of the green and gold of her homeland later this year.

“It sounds really cool,” Winfield-Hill said of the prospect of being able to call herself an England international. “I think with the double-barrelled, posh last name it’s very English, isn’t it?

“More than sounding really cool, it is really cool. I had my first weekend with the girls and the staff a couple of weeks back and it was really terrific to engage with them.

“Most of them, week in week out, it’s shake hands, thanks for the game and how are you going, and that’s about it, so it was terrific to establish some more meaningful connections and wear the same colours and badge on the training shirts.

“It’s a terrific learning space for me this year and I can’t wait to get stuck in.”

Courtney Winfield-Hill left the York City Knights defence trailing in her wake to score for Leeds Rhinos in the 2021 Women's Super League semi-finals.

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Courtney Winfield-Hill left the York City Knights defence trailing in her wake to score for Leeds Rhinos in the 2021 Women’s Super League semi-finals.

Courtney Winfield-Hill left the York City Knights defence trailing in her wake to score for Leeds Rhinos in the 2021 Women’s Super League semi-finals.

Winfield-Hill qualifies for England on residency groups, having moved to Yorkshire in 2018 to be with her now-wife Lauren Winfield-Hill, the England international cricketer, and joined the Rhinos where she quickly established herself as one of the stand-out players in the Women’s Super League.

The 2019 Woman of Steel has not completely severed her connections with Australia, although she is anticipating going through the process of becoming a fully-fledged British citizen.

“I’ve got multiple homes,” Winfield-Hill said. “You never know what is going to go down in the future and I’m really keen to get back home to Australia at some point.

“But I’d love to do six months and six months. The summer over here is particularly beautiful, especially when cricket and rugby league are being played in the same season.

It sounds really cool. I think with the double-barrelled, posh last name it’s very English, isn’t it?

Courtney Winfield-Hill on her England call-up

“You never know what life is going to throw at you, so I’m definitely going for that citizenship and you can properly lock me in.”

Last year’s Women’s Super League campaign saw Leeds finish runners-up to St Helens in the Grand Final and it was a similar story last Saturday when they met in this year’s Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup final, going down 18-8 to the holders at Elland Road.

The Rhinos now have to wait until next Friday to get their 2022 league campaign in Group 1 underway when they face Huddersfield Giants, who open against York City Knights this Sunday. The other Group 1 match of the day sees reigning champions St Helens host Wigan Warriors.

Group 2 now comprises seven teams following Castleford Tigers’ decision to voluntarily drop down from Group 1 to aid their long-term development and features two newcomers to the competition in promoted Betfred Women’s Championship sides Leigh Miners Rangers and Barrow Raiders.

St Helens completed an unprecedented treble by winning the 2021 Women's Super League Grand Final

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St Helens completed an unprecedented treble by winning the 2021 Women’s Super League Grand Final

St Helens completed an unprecedented treble by winning the 2021 Women’s Super League Grand Final

Winfield-Hill and her Leeds team-mates will be aiming to lead the charge to topple Saints in 2022 and she also has the incentive of being able to be part of this year’s Rugby League World Cup which could see her lining up against Australia for England in the knock-out stages.

“Looking at the World Cup, that could be a possibility in a semi-final or a final given we’re in different groups,” Winfield-Hill said. “To be honest, I’d really love that opportunity – my two favourite teams head to head.

“That would be really cool and if anyone is conflicted it might be my family more than me, but in that same breath I know they’re completely on board over here and when I told them about the opportunity they shook me and said ‘you have to say yes’.

“Should that be the case, I know they’ll be coming over and booking flights, and they won’t be far away.”

Sunday’s Betfred Women’s Super League 2022 Round 1 fixtures

Group 1: St Helens vs Wigan Warriors, Huddersfield Giants vs York City Knights (both 2pm).

Group 2: Barrow Raiders vs Warrington Wolves (12pm), Leigh Miners Rangers vs Wakefield Trinity (2pm), Bradford Bulls vs Featherstone Rovers (5.15pm).



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